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A Lesson from the Israeli School System?

By: Jonathan Xu

Dear Editor,

In late May of this year, Israel’s daily new coronavirus cases began to drop from the hundreds to the fifties. Convinced that they had beaten the virus, the officials were quick to reopen schools on May 17. This crucial mistake led to a catastrophic outbreak.

Today, the United States is facing a similar situation when it comes to the critical decision of reopening the education system in-person. Currently, the situation of the U.S. is far worse than that of Israel when they decided to reopen. Even so, President Trump is placing immense pressure on school systems nation-wide by threatening to cut government funding to the school districts that do not comply with his demands to reopen schools completely.

Experts say that the basic lesson is “that even communities that have gotten the spread of the virus under control need to take strict precautions when reopening schools.” Although this is an important point to consider when eventually reopening schools, I believe that this incident brings about a more important point to consider. The point being that countries that are still struggling to fight the pandemic, like the U.S., should not be quick to make decisions regarding reopenings without careful consideration of the consequences.

Although it is important for students to receive a full and optimum educational experience, it just isn’t practical to reopen school in the midst of a Public Health Emergency such as this outbreak. The political leaders of Israel have regretted their decision to reopen schools in May strongly, as it caused a severe surge in coronavirus cases.

By following through with Trump’s early decision to fully reopen schools, we are putting the national public at unnecessary risk of the coronavirus. It is the best to sit tight and follow social distancing practices. To do what is best for the country right now is to prevent this disease from getting out of hand.

Although it’s not nearly as educational or lively as traditional school, online school is a healthy alternative to reopening schools at this time. It is the best decision we can make, until there is a cure and/or vaccine for the virus.

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